Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Shared services for CCTV

Cambridge City Council and Huntingdonshire District Council are currently working together to propose a shared CCTV service.

Local authorities are working in an increasingly difficult financial environment, under pressure to reduce budgets whilst continuing to provide quality services. Both councils have risen to this challenge and the proposal to share CCTV services is expected to reduce combined running costs by about £200,000 per year, whilst ensuring the security of its future.

Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council have provided a CCTV service for sixteen years. The cameras are used to monitor and protect areas and premises used by the public. CCTV helps to deter and detect crime, assists in the identification of offenders, and helps to reduce antisocial behaviour.

It also encourages better use of facilities and attractions and reduces the fear of crime. There are significant infrastructure costs attached to the delivery of this service, and it is in this area that both councils will see the benefit of this partnership.

A detailed and thorough review has been conducted into the viability of a shared CCTV service, which once considered by council members, will be subject to consultation with Trade Unions and staff groups at each authority.

If the plans go ahead, the new service would be hosted by Huntingdonshire District Council and operate from its existing, purpose built CCTV control room based at Eastfield House in Huntingdon. Existing staffing from both councils would be integrated into a common structure.

Some overall staff reductions from both authorities may result which would contribute to anticipated future savings. Arrangements would be set up to make sure that the shared service was governed to the satisfaction of both authorities.

Joining together into one large team will offer both authorities greater resilience to provide CCTV services. The new service will benefit from using the shared knowledge and experience of staff from both authorities and will lower operating costs. There is also the opportunity to share a more efficient technical platform from the Huntingdon base.

Under these proposals the shared service would use the IT infrastructure set up for Cambridgeshire’s Public Services Network to link together the CCTV camera systems currently operating separately in Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Cllr Tim Bick, Cambridge City Council’s Leader, was positive about the proposal. He said: “I welcome the work that officers have done at both Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council. The proposals set out reductions in operating costs whilst safeguarding the quality and effectiveness of our CCTV services. I am looking forward to considering these proposals at the committee meeting on 8 July, so that a decision on the future of the service can be made.”

Deputy Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Nick Guyatt, said: “Residents have a right to feel safe in their community, and by offering a comprehensive CCTV service we can help in the fight against crime in our area. I am pleased to consider any proposals which allow us to maintain this excellent service, whilst at the same time reducing operating costs.”